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“Not forgot, son of l'ingal, shall we ascend these winds. Our deeds are streams of light, before the eyes of bards. But darkness is rolled on Atha : the king is low, without his song: still there was a beam towards Cathmor from his stormy soul; like the moon, in a cloud, amidst the dark-red course of thunder."
“Son of Erin,” I replied, “my wrath dwells not in his earth '. My hatred flies, on eaglewing, from the foe that is low. He shall hear the song
of bards. Cairbar shall rejoice on his winds.”
Cathmor's swelling soul arose. He took the dagger from his side, and placed it gleaming in my hand. He placed it in my hand, with sighs, and, silent, strode away. Mine eyes followed his departure. He dimly gleamed, like the form
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,
Wheels her pale course. 29 This reply abounds with the sentiments of a noble mind. Though, of all men living, he was the most injured by Cairbar, yet he lays aside his rage, as the foe was low. How different is this from the behaviour of the heroes of other ancient poems ? Cynthius aurem vellit. MACPHERSON.
Touched the ear of the translator himself.
of a ghost, which meets a traveller, by night, on the dark-skirted heath 3°. His words are dark like songs of old : with morning strides the unfinished shade away!
Who 3" comes from Lubar's vale ? From the skirts of the morning mist? The drops of hea
3° Dimly gleamed, like the form of a ghost which meets a traveller by night on the dark-skirted heath.] Highlander, i. 218.
Thus often to the midnight traveller,
And shines an awful image through the night. 31 The morning of the second day from the opening of the poem comes on. After the death of Cuthullin, Carril, the son of Kinfena, his bard, retired to the cave of Tura, which was in the neighbourhood of Moi-lena, the scene of the poem of Temora. His casual appearance here enables Ossian to fulfil immediately the promise he had made to Cathmor, of causing the funeral song to be pronounced over the tomb of Cairbar. - The whole of this passage, together with the address of Carril to the sun, is a lyric measure, and was, undoubtedly, intended as a relief to the mind, after the long narrative which preceded it. Though the lyric pieces, scattered through the poems of Ossian, are certainly very beautiful in the original ; yet they must appear much to disadvantage, stripped of numbers, and the harmony of rhime. In the recitative, or narrative part of the poem, the original is rather a measured sort of prose, than any regular versification ; but it has all that variety of cadences, which suit the different ideas, and passions of the speakers. This book takes up only the space of a few hours. MACPHERSON, 1st edit. See the concluding note on the Six Bards.
ven are on his head. His steps are in the paths of the sad. It is Carril of other times. He comes from Tura's silent cave. I behold it dark in the rock, through the thin folds of mist. There, perhaps, Cuthullin sits, on the blast which bends its trees 3* Pleasant is the song of the morning from the bard of Erin !
“The waves crowd away,” said Carril.“ They crowd away for fear. They hear the sound of thy coming forth, O sun! Terrible is thy beauty, son of heaven, when death is descending on thy locks; when thou rollest thy vapours before thee, over the blasted host. But pleasant is thy beam to the hunter, sitting by the rock in a storm, when thou shewest thyself from the parted cloud, and brightenest his dewy locks: he looks down on the streamy vale, and beholds the descent of roes ! How long shalt thou rise on
32 I behold it dark in the rock, through the thin folds of mist. There, perhaps, Cuthullin sits, on the blast which bends its trees.] The description of Tura's silent cave, is transcribed from the Cave, written (by Macpherson) in the Highlands.
Behold ! it opens to my sight,
Dark in the rock ; beside the flood;
The winds above it move the wood.
war, and roll, a bloody shield, through beaven 33 ? I see the death of heroes, dark wandering over thy face !"
* Why wander the words of Carril ?” I said. “ Does the son of heaven mourn! He is unstained in his course, ever rejoicing in his fire. Roll on, thou careless light. Thou too, perhaps, must fall. Thy darkening hour may seize thee, struggling, as thou rollest through thy sky 34. But pleasant is the voice of the bard ; pleasant to Ossian's soul ! It is like the shower of the morning, when it comes through the rustling vale, on which the sun looks through mist, just rising from his rocks. But this is no time, O
33 How long shalt thou rise on war, and roll a bloody shield through heaven.] SHAKSPEARE, 1. Hen. IV. act v. sc. 1.
How bloodily the sun begins to peer
Above yon dusky hill. 34 The darkening hour may seize thee, struggling, as thou rollest through thy sky.] In the first editions, “ The dun robe may seize thee, struggling, in thy sky.”
By the dun robe of the sun, is probably meant an eclipse. MACPHERSON, ib.
The dun robe seizing the sun, was suggested by Beattie's recent Ode on Sleep, Scots Mag. 1758; reprinted, Edin. 1760.
See night's dun robe involves the boundless waste. But what becomes of the Earse original, of which the dun robe, and the darkening hour, are such different translations ?
bard, to sit down at the strife of song. Fingal is in arms on the vale. Thou seest the flaming shield of the king. His face darkens between his-locks. He beholds the wide rolling of Erin. Does not Carril behold that tomb beside the roaring stream! Three stones lift their grey heads beneath a bending oak. A king is lowly laid ! Give thou his soul to the wind. He is the brother of Cathmor! Open his airy hall ! Let thy song be a stream of joy to Cairbar's darkened ghost.”